America's Problem: We're Addicted to Being Busy

Tim Kreider wags a finger at our need to be so crazy busy
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 30, 2012 1:14 PM CDT
America's Problem: We're Addicted to Being Busy

"Almost everyone I know is busy," writes Tim Kreider for the New York Times, and unless you live under a rock, nearly everyone you know is probably so crazy busy, too. That's because we've basically turned into a nation addicted to busyness, Kreider laments. People "dread what they might have to face in its absence" and find themselves "anxious and guilty" when they're not in the midst of a jam-packed day. Busyness reassures us. "Obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day."

Of course, Kreider thinks our obsession distracts us from the fact that what we do actually is kind of trivial. "If your job wasn't performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I'm not sure I believe it's necessary. I can't help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn't a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn't matter." Kreider, for his part, isn't busy, writing for a handful of hours a day and taking long bike rides. He acknowledges that the planet could possibly fall apart if everyone did as he did, but he also thinks that idleness is a necessity, not a luxury. "The space and quiet that idleness provides is ... paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done." Click to read his delightful piece in its entirety. (More busy stories.)

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